Monday, December 31, 2012

I'm Back!

After my unintentional break from blogging, thanks to several days without internet service and then dealing with a nasty flu virus, I'm back and ready to go.

The girls are still sick, but they're so much easier to care for than Buddy was. He wanted to be held constantly and by no one but me.

I had stopped making New Year's resolutions a long time ago. Maybe it was the goals I set that were too unrealistic, and then the feeling of failure and disappointment when I realized that I had broken them usually within the first few days that made me decide not to make any more.

Rosebud was enthused about making some New Year's resolutions and as we were discussing them we decided to make resolutions that involved the whole family. This year we are taking a slightly different approach and we're creating a list of twelve things we would like to do in 2013. The idea was to pick one thing off the list each month and concentrate on it.

January we'll be trying a new recipe every day. Another month we want to walk to the tunnel on a nearby hiking trail at least twice a week. Someone else chose for us to sing several songs every night before we go to bed.

For the first time ever I'm actually looking forward to achieving everything on our list, and having a lot of fun while doing so.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fun Question and Answers ~ Part 2

How many cousins do you have?

I have ninety-seven cousins. The oldest is ten years younger than my mother and the youngest is a few months younger than Sunbeam. Since I was born close to the middle of this group I don't know the oldest or the youngest very well, but used to have so much fun with those close to my age.

Are you taller than your mother?

Yes, I'm almost two inches taller than she is.

Do you have any pets?

We're a family of dog people, but instead of a dog the only pet we have is a gray cat that someone dropped off. It adopted us and well, we all kind of like it. A lot.

Do you play an instrument?

Does a harmonica count as an instrument?

What is your favorite shampoo?

I don't have a favorite shampoo. I usually use one brand until my hair no longer reacts to it the way I want it too and then I switch to something else. Currently I'm using Total Care.

What did you do yesterday?

Besides the daily dozen I washed several loads of bedding, did a pile of mending, went grocery shopping, enjoyed digging through a box filled with Christmas goodies that the mailman delivered from my parents, took the children to their last pageant practice for the season and picked them up once it was over.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fun Question and Answers ~ Part 1

Recently I received a long list of questions from someone who suggested I may want to answer them on my blog.

I won't be doing them all at once since there were more than a hundred of them.

Are you allergic to anything?

I get really, really sick when ever I eat peanuts, but strangely I can eat peanutbutter without anything happening. Several days ago I tried eating half of a peanut that was included in a basket filled with Christmas treats. They had a coating that everyone was decribing as really delicious and I wanted to see how it was. I paid dearly for eating that peanut half.

What was the first car you drove?

For years we had only one vehicle. An F-350. It was several years after we left the Amish before I drove an actual car. It was an old Monte Carlo that a friend loaned to us so I could care for their animals while they were on vacation.

What was your first job?

My first job was working as hired help for an overworked mother.  It wasn't a very good experience. You can read about it here.

What is the last book you read?

The last book I read was Tea and Trouble Brewing by Dorcas Smucker.  Currently I'm reading The Lesson by Suzanne Woods Fisher.  Both wonderful books!

Who is your favorite comedian?

I always enjoy a good laugh. Jeanne Robertson never fails to deliver. Here is one of my favorites from her

Monday, December 17, 2012

Scattered Thoughts

My mind seems to be going in so many different directions this morning that I decided instead of focusing only on one single topic I'll share a handful of different things I have been pondering.
A subject that has been weighing heavily on me, same as on millions of others is the senseless tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook.  I won't even pretend to know or give answers why it happened or how it could have been prevented.

I will though hug my children a little closer and cherish everyday we have together.


Last night our children joined the rest of the children from our church to go to a nursing home to sing. When they got home Rosebud shared her experience in great detail. She felt sorry for everyone there and assured LV and I we would never have to live at a place like that.

Caring for the elderly is something I really admire that the Amish do. Older people are cherished, loved, and still very important part of the family. Once they can't care for themselves they can rest in the knowledge that they will be well taken care of by their children or grandchildren. For those that weren't blessed with children, nieces and nephews are more than willing to make those last years as pleasant as possible.


Our oven stopped working yesterday. I had been hoping to bake and decorate some Christmas cookies this week and I had also signed up to bring dessert to the Christmas pageant at church. My initial reaction after discovering that the stove doesn't work was deep frustration, but now I realize without the means to do all of the baking I had planned to do it will free up some more time to relax and enjoy the season.

I'm trying to view this as a blessing in disguise.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I love mornings like this morning.

Now if we would get a generous layer of snow it would be perfect!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. So, when did you last take a walk in the woods? A stroll along the beach? A drive going nowhere in particular in the car?
The last time I took a walk in the woods was more than a year ago. We took a stroll along the beach in July and I can't remember the last time we drove no where in particular in a car. Maybe if gas prices would come down it would happen more often.

2. Are you sending Christmas cards this year? About how many do you send? Photo card or something more traditional? How do you display the cards you receive?

I will be sending out traditional Christmas cards this year. But unlike most years this time only a few cards will be mailed. We usually display the cards we receive on top of our rolltop desk.

3. What's a word you've heard too much of in the past week?

Does a whining cry count as a word?  Buddy is teething and has a cold so a whining cry has replaced his usual cheerful sounds.

4. December 13th is National Cocoa Day-are you a fan? Plain or flavored? Marshmallows or no marshmallows?

I enjoy it and prefer plain rather than flavored and lots of mini marshmallows.

5. What is something you do to help alleviate the hectic pace of the Christmas season?

This year we aren't getting into the whole hectic pace thing. Our Christmas will be a fun filled day with our family and a few gifts. I'm not preparing a lot of treats and the only decorating that will occur is our small Christmas tree in the corner of our livingroom.

6. Besides jewelry, what's a favorite sparkly-glittery item in your home or closet?

I don't think I have anything sparkly-glittery in my house.

7. Share a favorite line or two from any Christmas carol.

I love Christmas carols and Rhonda Vincent's version of O, Beautiful Star of Bethlehem is one of my favorites.  Right now I'm wishing we would get lots and lots of snow so my current favorite line is "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Today looks like a perfect day to get some more sewing done. I'm hoping to finally make a dress for Rosebud with the fabric she has been keeping her eye on for quite a long time already. There isn't a whole lot of time to work on it, but those few hours when they are at our church's pageant practice keep getting put to good use and hopefully by Christmas morning the dress will be ready.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Marshmallow Buggy

Every Christmas when I was a little girl Grandma Mast used to make marshmallow buggies for all the grandchildren. I used to think it was so cute that I hated to think of eating it. Instead I would keep it on the top of my dresser until the marshmallow was hard and the rest was too dusty to eat. My brothers never had that problem. By the time we got home from Grandma's house all that was left of theirs was a little piece of thread and the toothpicks.

After telling Rosebud and Sunbeam about those little treats they wanted to try making them this year.

Last week I got the last of the supplies we needed and last evening seemed like the perfect time to create them.

Supplies needed:

Regular marshmallows
Animal crackers
Gummi bears

Take a marshmallow and insert two toothpicks with just enough space between them to place an animal cracker between them. Take a short piece of thread and tie the animal cracker to the toothpicks to keep it from falling. Next take two lifesavers, preferably the same color and carefully dip one side into water and stick them to the side of the marshmallow. Dip the bottom of a gummi bear into the water and place on top of the marshmallow. Set aside to dry.

Try not to move until the water has had time to dry to insure that the lifesaver wheels and the gummi bear will stick properly.

These are a hit at our house. Very easy to make and so cute!

Friday, December 7, 2012

For the Love of Curls

Last night the children were part of a Christmas program. A kind lady came and did most of the girls hair in a lovely Victorian style up-do. Rosebud absolutely loved it and when it was time for bed she was sad that it had to come down.

This morning she was talking about working in a hair salon once she's grown up. Obviously feeling like a princess for a few hours made her want to pass that feeling along to others.

A few minutes ago Sunbeam came running to find me, saying that there's an emergency and Rosebud needs me right away. She grabbed hold of my hand and we went hurtling down the hallway while all sorts of possible emergency related situations flashed through my mind. I wasn't prepared to see what I saw as we rounded the corner and the most pitiful sight met my eyes. Rosebud was standing in front of the bathroom mirror with a comb hopelessly stuck in her hair after being substituted for a curling iron.

I tried my best to untangle it, but soon saw the only option I had was to cut it out.

Per her request we'll be keeping the picture of her new look for our family only. So instead I'll share a picture of the envelope that contains her failed attempt of lovely curls.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Treadle Fun

As a little girl I used to love playing with the treadle of Mom's sewing machine. My brother's and I could spend hours sitting on the floor in front of it, pumping it up and down, pretending to be doing all sorts of things.

Our children have enjoyed playing with it too. Sailor and Rosebud have grown out of that phase and Sunbeam is at the verge of doing the same. She still plays with it occasionally, but bigger and bigger chunks of time pass between her taking a few minutes to play there.

Last week Buddy discovered the treadle and it seems to hold a big attraction for him. He scoots over to it and tries his best to pump it. So far his efforts only pay off a small percentage of the time, but he keeps trying.

I still love my treadle sewing machine and don't see me ever making the transition to an electric model. Not only do I like using it to sew, I'm also happy how the children have been able to get the same enjoyment out of it that I used to as a little Amish girl.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Invitation from Rosebud

Rosebud loves words and I can count on finding her sitting somewhere everyday writing away. She has a book filled with short stories she has written and another of songs she has composed. Another of her favorites is creating menus and then sending invitations to the rest of the family.

One of her latest invitations made me chuckle and I'm sharing it today, with her permission.

Please come to the Kinsinger family restaurant this evening where we will be serving haspatchi style food. Please bring your chopsticks for eating and a bed sheet to use and share for napkins.

No purses or large handbags inside the restaurant for we are tired of our salt shakers and fancy napkins disappearing.

All customers will be asked to turn their pockets inside out before being allowed to leave the restaurant.

How she ever came up with that is beyond me, but I'm tucking it into a box along with the rest of the things the children created that I want to keep.

Friday, November 30, 2012


It's Friday, which means it's time to choose the winner for Tea and Trouble Brewing. After consulting the random generator the lucky winner is.....

Comment number 46

Mandy C said ........

My favorite kind of tea is Bigelow's "I Love Lemon". It's so comforting! :)

Congratulations Mandy! Please email your address to me and I will get your copy of the book mailed to you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hodgepodge Time

 1.   Which do you prefer-pretty gift wrap with a bow or a pretty gift bag with/without a bow?  What percentage of your holiday gifts are currently (as in right this very minute) wrapped in some form or fashion?

I have a weakness for pretty wrapping paper. They all seem to call my name when ever I go to a store. Unfortunately most of the time the only thing I can do is say, "Hi" and leave them there while I use what we have at home.

The percentage of gifts I have wrapped already is a big fat zero. With everything that has happened in our family this year it is a little hard to get into the usual Christmas spirit. We will be getting a gift or two for the children but it will be much more low key than most years.

 2.  What is one item on your Christmas list this year?

One of the things on my wish list is an egg beater. The handle of my trusty egg beater broke and I really miss being able to use it.

 3.  What makes a home?

Family, love, laughter.

I love being at home and don't go looking for excuses to leave or places to go. It's like a haven from the rest of the world. A place where we can relax and enjoy ourselves. A place where we can freely laugh, cry, talk, and I guess simply be ourselves.

 4.  Motown founder Berry Gordy celebrates his birthday on Hodgepodge Day-November 28th. Are you a fan of the Motown sound?  If so, who's your favorite Motown artist and/or song? Here's a list in case you're stuck.
Not familiar with the Motown sound. I checked out the list and don't think I ever heard any of those songs.

 5.  Red or green-which one is more prevalent in your closet?
Green makes me look sickly so the most prevalent by far is red.

 6.  True or false-bacon makes it better? If you answered true, what's your favorite dish made with bacon?

Very, very true! My favorite meal with bacon is breakfast where I serve it with eggs and pancakes.

 Bacon cheddar chicken is a family favorite. And broccoli bacon salad never lasts long enough.

I have several recipes pinned that I want to try including bacon chocolate chip cookies.

 7.  Share a favorite holiday memory.

As my regular readers know I have already shared some of my favorite Christmas memories on my blog, and my books each contain more of them so today I will share a very memorable Christmas even though it doesn't qualify as my favorite.

It was the year my youngest brother had been born and he was only two months old so I'm sure my parents had a lot on their mind when the were preparing for Christmas.

That morning when we came downstairs after breakfast to see our towel cover piles of gifts at each of our places at the table I immediately noticed how my pile seemed really, really small. The boys each had a towering pile compared to mine.

I lifted my towel and beside the plate filled with the usual nuts and candy was the sorriest, saddest looking little dog shaped salt shaker. It wasn't even a set. I tried my best to not look as sorry and sad as that little dog. I knew Christmas was about so much more than gifts as I watched my brothers admire their new boots, trains, and books. I took my salt shaker upstairs and tucked it into the back of my china cupboard so I wouldn't have to see it.

I got some books several weeks later and my next birthday was much more extravagant than usual. I think they really felt bad about Christmas.

I never did learn to like that salt shaker though and wasn't sorry when Rosebud happened to drop it and it broke.

 8.  Insert your own random thought here.

There is still time to go enter the giveaway in the previous post.  Giveaway has now ended.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tea and Trouble Brewing and a Giveaway

I was introduced to the writings of Dorcas Smucker over a year ago and was instantly hooked. Here was a woman who could craft stories from the happenings in her life with such eloquence. She could make me laugh, make me cry, and inspire me. Always thought provoking, but never preachy.

I soon acquired all her books and read and reread them and then added them, where they will remain, on my bookshelf reserved for only my most favorite books.

I waited patiently, along with the rest of the fans of her writings, for her next book and was more than happy to do a review and giveaway on my blog when she was looking for people willing to do so.

Tea and Trouble Brewing does not disappoint. It is written in the same style I have come to know and love from her previous books. It is a chapter book so it is easy to pick up and read when ever you have time. I find I like to have a little time to ponder over each chapter as I have read them.
She writes about everything from her love of tea, going fishing with her son, family, marriage, and how she was finally persuaded to join Facebook, It is one more thing that helps me be part of my teenagers' lives from the comforts of my home. Joining them on snowboards would be much more demanding.
By the time you turn the last page you feel as if you really know the Smucker family and would enjoy sitting down at a table with Dorcas to enjoy a cup of tea and talk about everything.
I am giving away a signed copy of Tea and Trouble Brewing. If you would like a chance to read this great book leave a comment telling me your favorite kind of tea.
As always if you would like another entry place a link to this giveaway on your blog or Facebook and then come back and leave another comment telling me you did.
I will be choosing the winner on Friday Nov. 30th with the help of my friend Random generator.
You can purchase Tea and Trouble Brewing on Amazon or directly from Dorcas by sending $15.00 to:
Dorcas Smucker
31148 Substation Drive
Harrisburg, OR 97446
She is also offering a great deal right now of all four books for only $40.00  postage paid.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Looking Into the Past

Yesterday afternoon we were deep cleaning Rosebud and Sunbeam's room. The amount of things in their room was a little mind boggling even though they keep everything neat and organized.

We had moved a highboy into their room several months ago and the top drawer still contained some of my odds and ends that I had vowed I would go through some day. Yesterday happened to be that day.

There were stacks of letters I had written for the circle letters I had belonged to. I'm glad I kept them all since they almost work like a diary. I read a few and set them aside to read the rest once I have more time. Continuing my digging I found this picture.

I hadn't thought about it for years but I still remember when we got it. We had all been eating when there was a knock on the door and a man with a satchel filled with photos wanted to sell us pictures taken from our house.

My parents looked at them and stated that we don't want them. It was neat seeing what our property had looked like years before we lived there, but they would rather have something more current. They invited the rest of us to come look at it too. The first thing that caught my eye was how the majestic pine trees behind our house were only babies in this picture. The boys were much more intrigued with the ancient vehicles and the people in front of the house waving at the airplane.

After seeing how much we seemed to enjoy the pictures Daddy asked the man for his phone number and said he would think about it. The man left and we went back to finish our meal. I thought he had found a polite way to send the salesman on his way.

Turns out he really had wanted that phone number and Christmas morning we each had a small picture waiting for us.

If you notice that little old house beside the main one. That is where John and I hid in the attic the day we rolled a tractor down the hill. It used to be filled with dusty antiques that we sorted and sold when we built an addition to the little house for a place to finish furniture where we wouldn't have to stop working in the shop while it dried.

While some things looked different when we lived there I'm still glad I have this picture. It brings back lots of good memories.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Yesterday was the first time we have ever had a complete Thanksgiving meal at our house. I always made our traditional Thanksgiving Pudding but as for the rest of the meal it never happened for one reason or the other.

We chose to have ham instead of turkey, joining it on our menu was two kinds of salad, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweetcorn, cheddar dill bread, and then several kinds of pie, pudding, and Rosebud tried a new recipe for ice cream that we were all too full to sample.

Our year has had its share of ups and downs but we have so much to be thankful for. Today the feeling of thankfulness continues along with the leftovers. I won't be joining the crowds in search of black Friday deals, I would rather stay at home and count the blessings I already have.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Barn Raising

I got up this morning to a typical November day. Dull gray skies, drab brown fields, and bare trees  waiting for snow to come. The perfect type of day to be in a nice cozy warm house with cheerful lights, and plans to get some Christmas sewing done.
I still use my treadle sewing machine and still like having it right inside the window. The first load of laundry was swishing merrily in the soapy depths of the washing machine while I prepared to get the sewing machine threaded and ready to go when I heard the distinct sound of a horse and buggy approaching.

One buggy followed the next and I couldn't help but watch with interest as the men parked the buggies and unhitched the horses and then walk to where a new barn is being built.

I'm not sure how much sewing I will get accomplished today since watching a barn raising while sewing doesn't work the best. I predict a fun day ahead!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stuffed Portobello

The children have been going to our church's Christmas pageant practice one night a week since early October. On the evenings they are gone I try to make a simple meal for LV and me.
This week I decided it would be the perfect time to make stuffed portabello mushrooms since LV and I both love them and the children have still not learned to appreciate mushrooms.
It had been a long time since I made them and they turned out even better than I had remembered. So good in fact that I forgot to take a picture until after the first bite had already been taken.
Stuffed Portobello
2 portobello mushroom caps
1 cup fried sausage, crumbled
1 cup shredded cheese (I used fiesta blend)
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tsp olive oil
Remove stem and gills from mushroom cap. Brush the outside with the olive oil and place top side down in an 8x8 baking dish. Bake at 400 for 5 minutes. Meanwhile combine fried sausage crumbles, shredded cheese, and pepper.
Divide evenly and stuff mushroom caps. Return to oven and bake for an additional 8 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1.  What rule of life should never be broken?

Since everything hinges on love, I have to say the rule that should never be broken is to love God with all our heart and our neighbors as our self. If that rule is followed it takes care of everything.

 2.  What's your favorite family recipe?

We have so many recipes we love that I'm not sure I can pick a favorite. With Thanksgiving just around the corner I think I'll choose the pudding Mom used to make every year.

 3.  Is the media manipulative?

From what I have observed. Yes.

 4. Joyce and her husband saw Skyfall last weekend...are you a fan of the Bond films? If so, who's your favorite Bond?

I don't think I have ever seen a Bond film so I can't choose a favorite.

 5. What is one thing you hope people never say about you?

That I'm phony and selfish.

 6.  What's a nearby tourist attraction you'd like to see, but haven't gotten around to visiting?

There are so many attractions nearby that we would like to visit someday. Falling Waters designed by Frank Lloyd Wright,  Kennywood, and the lesser known but something that has fascinated me for a long time already; Gravity Hill.

 7.  Where's your favorite tree?

I love pine trees. I like how they lend a beautiful splash of color when everything else is drab. I love hearing them whisper when the breeze blows through them and how their whispering turns to whistling during the heartless winter winds.

 8.  Insert your own random thought here.

There are times when I wonder what happened with good old common sense. We are still trying to get Buddy's last name straightened out. The birth certificate has been taken care of but SS is quite another story.

All this because the person that filled out the forms after he was born added the last name of a baby that had been born only a few hours earlier. Their mistake, but our problem that we have now been dealing with for close to a year.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Laundry Days

Laundry days always hold a certain amount of frustration for me when it's time to pair up the socks and I'm left with an assortment that have lost their mate. And according to other articles of clothing that were now on the missing list it seemed as if the dryers appetite was growing and had now developed a taste for shirts and pants besides its usual diet of socks.

Strangely though it seemed to have an exceptional hunger for anything that belonged to Sailor. On Friday as we were preparing to leave the house Sailor appeared in a shirt that was decidedly too small for him. After sending him back upstairs to change he appeared with another shirt equally as small and wrinkled so badly that I had to wonder where he had ever managed to dig it up. I sent him back upstairs with instructions to wear one of his shirts that we had bought only a few months ago.

He declared he no longer has any shirts that fit him which prompted me to do an extensive search of his room. Turns out he has way more clothes than he realized. Some were scrunched under his bed, others under a pile of treasures in his closet, still others on the floor behind his furniture.

By the time I was done with his room I had found all the missing shirts and pants and a host of missing socks. The plus side of this adventure is that his room is sparkling clean again and once I iron all his shirts this afternoon I will once again have a well dressed son.

I think his room is the beginning of a thorough fall house cleaning. Who knows how many other forgotten things I will find in the process.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bits and Pieces

While digging through my crowded pantry this morning searching for a package of chocolate chips that I was hoping would be hiding somewhere in the back I stumbled across a tin containing the last of last years candy canes I had hidden there.

A few fun Pinterest related ideas ran through my mind but since I didn't have enough to create one of the wreathes or candle holders with them I simply tossed them into the trash.
 Buddy loves books. He spends a lot of time looking at this picture in one of his favorite books and it sparked the following conversation:

Sunbeam: Do you think Buddy knows that is a picture of Jesus? He just looks and looks at it.
Me: It almost seems that way.
Sunbeam: Do you think he still remembers how Jesus looks?
Me: When did he see him.
Sunbeam: Before he was born he was living inside you and Jesus lives inside you too.
I loved that sweet thought.
Tonight we will be watching along with the rest of America as the election results come in. Which ever way they turn out I have hopes the evening will be enjoyable since we will be gathering at a friends house where we'll have plenty of good food and fun as we keep track of the latest updates.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Caring Continues

First of all I want to thank everyone for the cards, letters of encouragement, and prayers you have sent for my sis-in-law Emma and her children after Melvin died. She was really grateful for everything she received.
Among those who wanted to help was a dear friend and author, Karen Anna Vogel. After hearing about Emma she generously offered to put several of Melvin's favorite holiday recipes in the back of her new Christmas book and a portion of all sales will go to Emma.
I wish I had an e-reader so I could get to read this entire book. I enjoyed what I was able to read in the preview on Amazon. I have always had a weakness for Christmas stories and with only a little over a hundred pages this would be the perfect size fun read.
You can get a copy for 2.99 here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Survived Sandy ~ Hodgepodge

1. What creeps you out?

Quite a lot of things, unfortunately. Besides the obvious mice, spiders, snakes, and bats there is also a list of other things that I find creepy and gives me the shivers.

Detailed medical talk gives me the shivers. My brothers used to love talking about kneecaps to send me running the other direction. In fact the talk they had with LV before we got married instead of a brotherly warning to be good to their sister they informed him to talk about kneecaps if he ever wants me to be quiet or needs some space. Ack!

2. What's your least favorite candy?

My least favorite is a homemade candy made with mashed potatoes mixed with powdered sugar until they were stiff and then rolled out and spread with some type of peanut butter concotion before being rolled up and sliced.

We made them every year for Christmas because they were my Aunt Vernie's favorites.

3. Are you a fan of scary movies? What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?

I'm far, far away from being a fan of scary movies. The scariest movie I have seen was Jeepers Creepers. I only watched a little bit and went to find something better to do.

4. What part of life confuses you the most?

I know that all things work together for good to them that love the Lord, but at the same time I sometimes wonder why 'good' people have so much pain and suffering in their life and some 'not good' people seem to have everything going their way.

5. Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy...what's your favorite seed?

I'm not sure I have a favorite. I really like sunflower seeds especially when seasoned and toasted like we used to do while I was growing up. We used to get them in twenty-five pound boxes and spend several days toasting them to perfection and kept a jar on the counter top where we helped ourselves when ever the munchies attacked between meals.

We used to keep seeds from our pumpkins and dried and toasted them as well. It was fun gathering at the table evenings after supper and work on shelling them while Mom read to us.

I love lemon poppy seed bread. And poppy seed chicken and dressing.

Sesame seeds are also used in our house. Last summer we spent some time in Charleston SC. While there we visited the straw market and someone was giving out samples of benne wafers. I loved them but thought they were a little pricey. after walking farther into the market we came to a booth where they were selling spices. Among their ware were packets of benne seeds. I got some with the intentions of going home and googling for a recipe to make my own benne wafers.

My search for the recipe revealed that benne seeds are also called sesame seeds.

6. Imagine your life ten years from today...what's changed?

The children will be trying out their wings. I will have learned some new cooking techniques. And there will be a generator in the garage waiting to be used during power outages.

7. What do you a) love the most and b) like the least about the Hodgepodge?

I enjoy answering all the questions. A fun blogging prompt for me and after posting I enjoy reading all the answers from the others who joined the hodgepodge. A fun way to learn more about our bloggy friends.

My least favorite part is .......... hmm I'm drawing a blank on that.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

After quite a lot of rain from Sandy it turned to a heavy wet snow which somehow managed to cling to absolutely everything inspite of the wind. That of-course resulted in downed trees and power lines.

Our power went off on Monday and finally came back sometime during the night last night. Thankfully we have a nice coal furnace in the basement that provided toasty heat. We had filled a lot of containers with water which we used at an alarming rate.

We filled bowls with snow and brought them indoors to melt and use to wash dishes. The contents of the refrigerator were nestled into the snow drifts outside the back door to stay cold.

While I was eagerly looking forward to having our power restored the children thought it was all a grand adventure

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fun Debates

After watching three presidential debates and hearing all the talk of elections where ever we go it shouldn't have come as much of a surprise when I overheard the children having their own debate.

Thankfully I had a notepad and pen nearby and I was able to record most of it and decided to share the highlights with you.

Sailor: When I'm elected president I promise to get the people of the United States to smile more. The way I will do that is:

 #1 There will be no more school books.

#2 Everyone can go camping when ever they want to.

#3 I'll teach every one how to sing.

#4 All roads will be paved.

Rosebud:  This is why you shouldn't be president. Why would you be so heartless and take away school books when a lot of children enjoy learning. If you take them away I won't be smiling.

# 2 I don't want to go camping and have to sleep outdoors when I have a perfectly comfortable bed in the house or cook over a campfire when I can use a stove.

#3 I'll help you teach people how to sing. That would be fun.

#4 Paved roads are a good thing but they need to remember to keep fixing the potholes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

99th Edition

Joyce, from This Side of the Pond has been faithfully preparing a list of questions every week where any one who wants to can join the fun and answer them on their own blog. Today is the 99th edition of what we know as the Wednesday Hodgepodge. The number 99 made her think of the song '99 bottles of beer' which led to the first question.

1. So, do you like beer?
No. I have never even had the tiniest sip of beer or the tiniest desire to have a sip but I can't imagine I would like it.

I was almost twenty five before I had my first taste of an alcoholic drink.

In Somerset County the Amish use grape juice at communion and when we moved I had not stopped to think how a lot of other Amish churches use real wine until my sip from the communion cup was burning a trail down my throat and I had the nasty taste of spoiled grapes in my mouth.

2. What's your least favorite repetitive task?
Folding laundry.

3. When was the last time you rode a bus? Where was it headed?
The last time I rode in a bus was seven years ago when we traveled to Pennsylvania by Greyhound. None of us enjoyed the experience. The bus was crowded and we had to hold the children the whole way even though we had bought tickets to make that we won't have to. It was hot and if the bus had air conditioning it wasn't working where we were sitting.

We love traveling but doing it by bus is not for us.

4. What song from your childhood or from your own children's childhood could make a parent's nerves stand on end?
Macaroni.  Ack! The children had a CD with funny little children's songs on it and they loved the Macaroni song and played it over and over until I conveniently lost the CD. Even so they still loved singing it for the longest time. I still hear them singing it occasionally.

5. The US Presidential election cycle is drawing to a close (can I get an AMEN??), and the third and final debate was held Monday night...what was the last thing you 'debated about'?

Something I was debating was whether or not I want to go buy several yards of fabric to make a little Amish dress someone ordered or use what I have on hand. My sewing machine might make that decision for me since it hates sewing what I have and insists on skipping stitches.
6. Can a person make too much money? How much is too much?
No, you can't make too much money as long as it has been made honestly.
There are so many good things you can do for other people when there is plenty of money. I would love to be able to help people more!

7. Pop-soda-coke-something else...what's it called where you live?
We call it pop in our area. Not a huge fan though. About the only time I have one is on the rare occasion when we enjoy one of Auntie Anne's soft pretzels and have a Coke to go with it.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

The reviews for Life with Lily keep trickling in and I'm so happy and very honored how it reminds a lot of people of an Amish version of the Little House series.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hodgepodge Time

1. Noah Webster was born this week back in 1758....besides the online version, do you own a dictionary? Do you ever use the hardback copy or is your hunt for a definition strictly online these days?

We still use our hardback dictionaries the most and they still maintain their same spot of  importance on top of our roll top desk as they have since the day we got them soon after we were married.

2. Should public schools ban Halloween celebrations? What about other holiday celebrations currently under fire?

I personally don't care if they ban it or not.

3. What's your favorite 'dog' movie?

Where the Red Fern Grows We also have Old Yeller waiting to be watched but unless the ending is different from the book I'm not sure I want to watch it.

4. When were you last somewhere you'd describe as 'too quiet'?

The last time something was 'too quiet' was when I went to the DMV. Not a fan of that place. Everyone seems too quiet and stern.

5. Are you a neat cook or a messy cook? In other words do you clean as you go or make a big mess and then deal with it later?

Most of the time I clean as I go unless I'm in a big hurry.

6. Did you hear about Felix Baumgartner, the skydiver who broke the sound barrier via parachute? Was your first thought COOL! or was your first thought CRAZY! Are you adventurous?

My first thought was crazy! I'm not all that adventurous even amusement park rides aren't my cup of tea, though I have thought regular skydiving could be fun. Two of my friends went skydiving recently and their description of the experience made me want to try it too someday. I really don't see that ever happening though.

7. What's not a word but should be?

Twangled, is a word Sunbeam invented several years ago to describe how she was feeling a mixture of happy, excited, and a little bit scared. Our family still uses the word.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I enjoyed the Life with Lily launch party Suzanne and I hosted last night on Facebook. I always enjoy making new friends and having lively discussions.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Wal-Mart Adventures

Last week when it was time to go on our weekly grocery run we headed for our local Wal-Mart Supercenter. As much as I don't like admitting it, most of our grocery shopping occurs there. It never fails to be somewhat of an adventure.

The first obstacle we face is the droves of people exiting the building using the enter door. After weaving through them I smile and nod at the Wal-Mart greeter, while trying not to run over her with my cart since the person ahead of me has stopped suddenly to inspect some kind of Halloween decorations.

I need toothpaste which leads me into the bowels of the store where teens are loitering in the aisles on their cell phones and I get nervous that maybe my hair isn't just right or my blouse might have a stain from Buddy. I know it really isn't that bad but The People of Wal-Mart website has made me just a little paranoid and it's one of my life's missions to never appear on it.

I decide to pass the book display and feel thrilled to see Life with Lily.  Someone is browsing the Amish book selection and I contemplate offering to sign my book for her if she buys it but decide to let her shop in peace and walk on.

I head over to the grocery section and breathe a sigh of relief. It's filled mostly with moms trying to find food for their families. As I push the cart along Buddy is busy zipping my coat open and shut. I survey the cheese section and find jalapeno string cheese. I'm always looking for things to tuck into LV's lunch and thinking he will enjoy them I toss a pack into the cart.

The rest of my shopping passes uneventfully until I'm at the check out. The cashier swipes the cheese and her machine beeps wildly. It's a purchase that requires more identification to make sure I'm not under age. She calls for assistance and after looking me over they decide I'm old enough to enjoy the cheese.

I pay for my purchases and as I exit the store using the exit door a group of people enters. Half of them use the enter door and the other half uses the one I'm trying to use.
I arrive home safely and take a picture of the cheese that caused all the problems at the check out. The groceries are put away and as I relax I can't help but wonder what adventures await at Wal-Mart for me next week.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Anna M.  commented on a post where I had shared how I used to read late into the night using a flashlight.

What was an Amish girl doing with a flashlight?

Since Amish people don't use electricity most of them have far more flashlights than average Americans.

We used to keep at least one in each room. Every bedroom had one on the nightstand next to the bed. Cheap disposable flashlights were tucked under our pillows when we were children where they would be easy to find if we needed them.

We each got a really good one when we turned sixteen and joined the youth. They were essential in helping us find our coats and boots in the dark after hymn singings were over and finding our way to the correct buggy. Boys needed them to see to hitch up horses on Sunday evenings.

Basically any Amish home you go to once it's dark you will see flashlights being used.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. In what ways do you indulge yourself?

The only way I have been able to indulge myself for longer than I care to think has been chocolate and even that hasn't been often.

2. Have you ever taken a cooking class? Any interest? What type of class would you most like to try?

I have never taken a cooking class but, I would love to. If I could I would really enjoy going to culinary school as well as learn more about cake decorating.

3. What does it mean to be a good citizen?

Good citizens obey laws, are good neighbors, and take care of their little corner of the earth.

4. 'Tis the season of the political these ads influence your vote?
No, all these political ads do not influence my vote but, they successfully annoy me. Signs planted in yards, bumper stickers, and long Facebook rants don't sway me either.

5. What's something you see today that makes you wish you were a kid again?
There seems to be moments everyday when I think it would be fun to be a child again. Seeing our children carefree, living in the moment, the things that they get to enjoy including sleeping longer and their boundless energy all make me wish I wouldn't have been in such a hurry to grow up.

6. What's your least favorite cliche?

There are quite a few but one that has always bugged me was when some says, "Let me put a bug in your ear." 

Eww, no thank-you. I prefer keeping my ears bug free.

Also where did, "at the crack of dawn" come from?  So far in my life dawn has always arrived very quietly.

7. What percentage of your Christmas shopping has been completed? How does that make you feel?
A big fat 0%  Most years I would be making plans already and have some shopping done but this year Christmas seems to be the last thing on our minds. With so much sorrow in the family Christmas seems to have lost some of its appeal. Hopefully once the snows come we'll get into the spirit.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Buddy loves playing in the leaves when ever he has a chance.
Winter seems to be right around the corner though. It actually snowed very nicely on Monday with huge beautiful flakes. The ground was still warm enough that it melted almost immediately. I'm hoping for a few more weeks of autumn.

Monday, October 8, 2012


It's Monday morning and time to choose the winner for my giveaway.
With the help of the random generator the winner is.......
Comment # 106
Becky's Bouquet said ......
I shared on FB

Congratulations! Please send me an email with your address and I will get this mailed to you.

For all those still waiting for a copy of Life with Lily see sidebar for links where you can purchase it.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Showing we Care

     Anniversaries have a way of reminding us anew of big events we have experienced in our life and often allow us to relive the feelings of those days.
   Yesterday marked the one month anniversary that LV's brother Melvin died in a work related accident.  I called my sis-in-law and we visited for quite a while. In the course of conversation she mentioned how really hard life is with out Melvin. And how since the initial shock has worn off harsh reality seems to have settled in. Right now she is at the point where everyone else seems to have gone back to their normal life but, life for her and their eight children is anything except normal. Cards and letters have slowed to a trickle and she is feeling very alone.
    I'm turning to all of you today in hopes we can flood her mailbox with cards and words of encouragement. If  you are interested in sending her something send me an email at: ajoyfulnoise(at)live(dot)com and I will send her address to you. 
   Let's show her and the children we still care.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sharing a few Favorites ~ Giveaway

Giveaway is now closed and a winner has been chosen.
In celebration that Life with Lily has officially released I am having a fun giveaway of a few of my favorite things.

Included in the giveaway is a signed copy of Life with Lily, my favorite white rug made by my Aunt Emma, a pint of maple syrup made by LV's cousin from the beautiful sugar maple trees on their farm, and a pint of locally made apple butter.

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment telling me the first thing you see when you look behind you right now.  I checked right now and there is nothing behind me except light mauve flowered wall paper.

For a second entry post a link to this giveaway on your blog or Facebook then come back and leave another comment telling me you did.

I will be choosing the winner with the help of random generator on Monday Oct. 8th.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Aunt Emma's Rugs

Going to Grandpa Mast's was always a lot of fun. There were so many options of fun things to do there from spending time with Grandpa in his harness shop, helping Grandma in her craft room, playing with Aunt Vernie, and on days when Aunt Emma was making rugs I usually didn't have to think twice. Vernie and I both loved watching and helping her.

It was fun filling those big bobbins with long strips of fabric and then watching as they flew back and forth across the loom leaving a trail of the fabric strips behind them, woven into the rug. Aunt Emma would let us try to help her on the loom but it was much harder than it looked when she did it so I was content simple watching and listening to the delightful clackity bangs as she made rug after rug.

She sold a lot of rugs in my parents store and when I was preparing things for my own home she was more than happy to make all the rugs in every color I wanted. By the time she was done I had everything I needed and more. A whole set of blue rugs, a few pink, several made with plastic grocery bags to use in the basement or our front porch, I had rugs that matched the colors for every room of the house. And then a pile to use for special occasions which included several all white ones.

I still have a pile of rugs I never even used including the white ones. Somehow they always seemed too pretty to actually walk on and so they stay tucked away.
Aunt Emma still makes rugs, I would love to spend a day watching her once again.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Join Us

On Wednesday October 3rd I will be joining Suzanne Woods Fisher at Books-A-Million in Cumberland, MD for a book signing from 2 to 4 PM.
We would love to get to meet you!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. The Wednesday Hodgepodge this week falls on John Chapman's birth date. He's more famously known as Johnny Appleseed...what's your favorite variety of apple?

I really like a lot of different apples but, my favorite variety of apple is Fuji. So delightfully crisp, sweet, and juicy.

There is a variety though that I keep looking for and so far have not been able to find. My search is a little more complicated since I can't remember the name of the apple but I do remember how it tasted.

It was a Saturday afternoon, the winter I was sixteen, and the fruit peddler had stopped at our house. The back of his truck was loaded with bushel boxes filled with apples. Mom bought several bushels of Yellow Delicious and before the peddler left he tried to sell her a bushel of a brand new variety. She wasn't interested knowing that Yellow Delicious were the family favorites, besides this new variety was more expensive.

The peddler gave her one to sample, sure that we would want to buy some the next time he made his rounds.

Mom came into the house with the funny shaped apple. It was much more flat than the apples we were used to eating and the color was intriguing as well from yellowish green spots to a dark reddish purple. It didn't look very appetizing to me.

That evening Mom peeled it and we each got two slices. Biting into it there seemed to be an explosion of flavors. Almost as if I had a bite of an apple, grapes, and pears. We all loved it and wished we had bushels and bushels to enjoy. We were looking forward to the next time the peddler came so we could buy some.

Unfortunately by the time he got to our house he was sold out of that variety. Too many other people had been wanting them too. We never did get any more of those apples and I will continue sampling new kinds when ever I have a chance in hopes that I will be able to find them again.

2. When did you last say 'ick'?

Yesterday, leaking diapers have a way of making me say that.

3. Do you think there's a generation gap? Explain.

I think this varies a lot from family to family. I never felt that way and was always close to my Mom and grandparents. We all loved talking so there wasn't much chance of any of us not understanding how the other was feeling.

4. What's on your computer screen saver? Do you leave it alone or change it often?

My computer background is a picture of a patch of lily-of-the-valley flowers. I change it once a month or so. My screen saver is bubbles and I never change it.

5. If you had the attention of the entire world for two minutes, what would you say?

I would ask them to forget their differences, life is much too short and precious to be focused on that.

6. Four fashion trends to try this fall are-brocade/jacquard (fancy printed fabrics), peplum, lace, and printed pants...which of these four would you be most likely to wear?

I'm really not a fan of any of those options though lace does sound the nicest to me.

7. What can make your bad day better?

Having little arms flung around my neck and hearing the words "I love you, Mom"  is always a day brighter.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
The way the yard looks in front of our house I think it's time to start raking leaves even though they have only started falling.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I'm really liking the trailer for Life with Lily. And also excited about a fun filled website created for Lily where you will find games, coloring pages, and more.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Answering Questions ~ LV

Over time I have accumulated a list of questions from my readers that were directed to LV. And today he will be answering them here.
  1. How has life changed since you have left the Amish?  Other than the obvious of now driving a vehicle, having electricity, and the way we dress the thing that changed the most since leaving the Amish is my relationship with God.
  2. Do you ever miss your horse and buggy? Never! I loved my horse and enjoyed riding but using a horse and buggy to go somewhere always took too long. I found that to be frustrating even as a little boy.
  3. How many brothers and sisters do you have? I had three brothers and one sister.
  4. Are you still in contact with your family?  Yes, I am. My parents seem to have accepted our choice of leaving the Amish quite well and we are always welcome at their house. They will even ride in our vehicle with us occasionally. I don't talk to my brothers and sister as often as I should but we are all on friendly terms.
  5. What was your first job?   For my first job I was only fifteen and had to spend a year working for a young family on their farm. I hated it. I had to work extremely hard. I was almost constantly tired. There was never enough to eat and I was constantly hungry. Every once in a while I would sneak over the fields to my sister's house and she would cook a nice meal for me. I don't know what I would have done if it hadn't been for her.
  6. How was it to be the son of an Amish preacher?  My Dad was ordained before I was born so I never knew anything else. I didn't like when people came to talk to him, it always seemed to spoil the rest of our day.
  7. How did you stay cool during the summer while you were Amish?  We were fortunate enough to live in an area where we didn't have extreme heat. Sitting under a tree in the shade always cooled us off nicely and after we built a pond we used to like going swimming to cool off after a day of hay making.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's Here!

What a thrill to be able to hold this book in my hands!  I can't thank you readers enough for encouraging me to put my life stories into a book.  Together we are seeing that dream come true.
Doing a happy dance! 
See sidebar for ordering information if you want a copy and check back often. I predict a fun giveaway in the near future.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Morning

Buddy's favorite thing to play with for the past few days has been Sailor's toy barn. It seems nice to have it in use again after having been packed away.
This morning before school Sailor was reading one of  the books from our old Book of Knowledge set. "Hey Mom," he called. "Did you know your picture is in here?"
I knew that was impossible unless I am much, much older than I thought I was. I went to see the picture and though it certainly isn't me there is still a resemblance.
Curious?  Here it is. The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer